OTTAWA’S CINEMA FOR INTERNATIONAL AND INDEPENDENT MOVIES

Blood Quantum

Puts the gory in allegory

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Zombie movies don’t tend to solicit much in the way of thoughtful discourse, nor do they often aspire to any higher purpose than to shock and terrify. 

This could have been true of Blood Quantum, director Jeff Barnaby’s (Rhymes for Young Ghouls) somewhat revisionist zombie horror flick.  But there is much more going on in Barnaby’s film than just the dead chomping on live flesh.

In Barnaby’s walking-dead thriller, the savages are non-indigenous zombies while the Indigenous peoples, who are immune to the zombie virus, hold down the fort. This shift of perspective is sure to resonate with anyone raised on the myth of the Hollywood western. 

A formidable wall has been built around the reserve, harbouring both white and Indigenous survivors, including the Sheriff’s ex-wife, Joss (Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers), and their two adult sons. Of the sons, Lysol (Kiowa Gordon) has a militant opposition toward the white refugees, which stands in direct contrast to that of his more compassionate younger brother Joseph (Forrest Goodluck). Joseph’s girlfriend is white – and pregnant – further complicating things.  

Blood Quantum is not short on social, and cultural observations, but neither does it scrimp on zombies gorging on lengthy intestines. There are even a few comic turns, thanks in part to the on-screen presence of Gary Farmer and Brandon Oakes. 

– Thom Ernst, Original Cin

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